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Carefor PSWs Gain Skills to Fill Need for Clients and Healthcare

At the end of June, 15 Carefor PSWs completed a 10-week Advanced Pain and Symptom Management course at Algonquin College. Carefor offered staff this training not only to improve care for clients and skills for staff, but to also build a team of PSWs who have advanced palliative care training.

Home care has changed dramatically over the past few years with staff being required to offer far more complex levels of care that might otherwise be performed in hospitals. This training allows more people to be able to be discharged from hospitals to be able to die at home.

“The current nursing shortage in home care has meant that while PSWs cannot do medication administration, training such as this allows them to offer other forms of care to our clients, many of whom are dealing with chronic diseases,” says Carefor Professional Practice Lead, Diane Roscoe.

The course offered a palliative approach to care focused on pain and symptoms management and covered a wide array of topics including beliefs, understanding the dying process, the circle of care, identifying and supporting pain, breathing difficulties, fatigue and delirium.

Two weeks of the course involved a lab which allowed students a more hands-on experience. In the lab, students had several case studies to help them understand real life situations and the best practices to take in relation to practices such as occupied bed making, mouth/skin care, positioning for comfort, wounds and dressing, catheter care, oxygen therapy, pharmacological and non-pharmacological pain management and much more.

One of the students, Jeremiah Olugboye, said he took the course “as a reminder of why the health care industry exists. It’s easy to quickly forget that it’s not about just going to a job and doing what is required of you, but that the clients need the care on a more empathic level from a place of knowledge.”

Jeremiah felt the course would help him with his work in numerous ways, including providing him enhanced confidence and skill in end-of-life care, improving his communication with clients, care team and clients’ family where necessary, increasing his cultural competence and inclusion for diverse client care, and helping him addresses ethical considerations in palliative care. And beyond all else, “ultimately improving the quality of life for clients in their final days.”

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